This interesting surname, with variant spellings Windebank and Windibank, is of English topographical origin, from the Old English "wind", meaning wind, and the Old Danish "banke" or Swedish "backe", bank. Hence the name was probably given to a dweller on a windy bank or from residence by a windy bank, or hill. Very often people were identified by some topographical feature, which they lived by, thus this was one of the main factors in surname origination. The surname itself first appears at the start of the 14th Century, (see below). One Robert del Wyndybankes was mentioned in 1315 in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire. Nan of Windebank was recorded in 1422 at Ashton-under-Lyne in the Custom Roll and Rental Records. One Sir Francis Windebank (1582-1646) was joint secretary of state with John Coke in 1632, knighted in 1632 and was engaged by Charles 1 in secret negotiations regarding the union of Anglican and Roman churches in 1634. One Margaret Windebancke was christened at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London on August 12th 1584. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de Wyndibonk, which was dated circa 1300, The Coucher Book or Chartulary of Whalley Abbey, during the reign of King Edward 1, "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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